No Church, No Problem For Fred

Even as Fred Thompson courts the evangelical political brass in advance of a presidential run, don't expect the former Law & Order star to sell himself as a devout Christian. Why? Thompson's team learned its lesson from watching former President George H.W. Bush.

"When you look at Bush 41 talking about his relationship with Christ," says a top outside Thompson adviser, "it was so clearly scripted and stilted." Thompson's religious outreach team is less concerned about the ex-Tennessee senator's ability to connect with the religious right because the other top-tier gop candidates seem to face bigger hurdles.

And even though Thompson infrequently attends Church of Christ services, the adviser says some top evangelical activists "are inches away from coming on board."

By Paul Bedard